Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"Novel Carriers Using Food Hydrocolloids"

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Fall 2010 - DURI
Research area(s):
Biomedical Engineering; Food Science; Life Science; Pharmacy; Physics
Project Description:
Some of the important attributes of an efficient drug carrier are accurate dosage, controlled release, safe to handle and minimal side effects. In this regard, a carrier with stable crystalline structure is highly advantageous for obtaining desired delivery profiles. Synthetic polymers have been playing a central role in the pharmaceutical applications for a long time as drug carriers. However, use of GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) materials is highly desirable and biopolymers, especially polysaccharide fibers, provide favorable choices, in this regard. More recently, we have demonstrated that iota-carrageenan fibers have the ability to entrap several drug molecules in the crystalline lattice. Carrageenans, sulfated polysaccharides extracted from marine algae, are used extensively in food industries as thickening and gelling agents. These hydrocolloids belong to the GRAS category and usage has been approved by FDA. In addition, they are relatively inexpensive. Depending on the source, location, and degree of sulfation, fifteen carrageenans are known as of today. Three-dimensional structure analysis of iota-carrageenan suggests that the polysaccharide has a rigid core structure and in the crystalline lattice there are pockets of free space, amid carrageenans, that can be exploited for entrapping small molecules through Van der Waals, ionic as well as hydrogen bonding interactions. Such a scenario provides an elegant pathway for the design and development of cost-effective co-crystal delivery systems. This project will test the effective encapsulation of several drug molecules, nutraceuticals and vitamins using several GRAS excipients.
Expected Student Contributions:
The DURI participant is expected to participate in making the crystalline fibers, preparation of the complexes, measuring the rheological properties and the release of embedded components. The intern will get exposed to several multidisciplinary scientific research areas such as polysaccharide fiber preparation, fiber diffraction, solution properties through rheology and control release mechanism of drugs, nutraceuticals and vitamins.
Related Website(s):
Desired Qualifications:
GPA above 3.0, strong interest and commitment towards basic and applied research is required.
Estimated Weekly Hours:
Department awards independent research credits for this project?
Yes, 4 credit hours

Professor in Charge

Janaswamy, Srinivas
Department of Food Science

Student Supervisor

Srinivas Janaswamy
Research Assistant Professor

Cooperating Faculty

Osvaldo Campanella